He is just 20 years old, but Kerala Blasters' young winger Kannoly Praveen Rahul or simply Rahul K P displays maturity beyond his years, both on and off the field.
This has been a breakthrough season for the Thrissur-born youngster in the Indian Super League (ISL). He troubled almost every defence and has so far banged in three goals, including in both legs against Bengaluru FC.
Blessed with blistering pace and exceptional dribbling skills, Rahul, who was the lone Keralite in India's 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup squad, has impressed one and all with his consistency, work ethic and temperament.
"We could not do well in the first half of the league. In certain matches, we gave away points cheaply. It's frustrating but you have to put it behind and keep moving. The focus is on working hard and staying ready for the matches ahead," he told Manorama News.
Excerpts from the interview:
Vicuna, the motivator
Coach Kibu Vicuna's approach to the game is different. He is so humble and down to earth. He wants to keep the players in a happy space and takes good care of each of us. He makes it a point to visit the injured players and help them cope with the stresses of injury. When the team is going through a rough patch, most of the coaches would let their frustration show. But Kibu always maintains a positive attitude and keeps players motivated enough to perform well in the next match.
I'm very close to everyone in the team, be it foreigners or local players. It is fun to have Keralites around. However, I miss our fans badly. Spectators are the lifeblood of football as they add a dynamic element to the game. But we have no other go for the time being.
Secret behind his scorching speed
People are curious to know about my pace. There are no secrets. I had been an athlete during my school days and I used to take part in 100m sprint competitions. I believe it is part of me and something I was born with.
I don't think I'm the most fashionable player in the team. There are others who wear trendy dresses. Of course, I love to experiment with my hair.